13b japanese religion
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  • 1. Brent Roberts Adapted and enhanced by Lisa Kemmerer For RLST 170 online
  • 2. Religions of Japan. I. Shinto II. Buddhism III. Confucianism IV. Christianity 2
  • 3.  Difficult for Westerners to understand.  Japanese idea of religiosity is different than ours. ◦ Don’t go to temple or church regularly. ◦ Mostly based on festivals. ◦ Maintain festivals for multiple religions.  New religions are common, often a mix of contemporary practices: a bit of Buddhism, a bit of Shinto, some Christianity... 3
  • 4.  Shinto handles ―life‖ events  Buddhism handles death events 4
  • 5.  Ancient myths and deities  Types of Shinto ◦ Shrine ◦ Imperial Household Shinto ◦ Folk Shinto ◦ Koshinto 5
  • 6.  Shinto is the only indigenous religion of Japan 6
  • 7. 7 Picture of the creation myth of Izanagi and Izanami Myths held in two volumes: • Kojiki (Record of ancient matters) • Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan from 720)
  • 8.  They stand on the floating bridge of heaven and thrust a Heavenly Jeweled Spear into the brine below  The spear’s dripping forms Japan.  They build a pillar (phallus—Axis Mundi) to walk around.  Izanami speaks, and they can’t mate because the woman isn’t supposed to speak first  They walk back around the pillar and Izanagi speaks first  Then they mate, beginning the Japanese people. 8
  • 9. 9 • Child of Izanagi and Izanami • “Born” from a drip when Izanagi used water to purify his left eye after a visit to the polluted netherworld (where he had gone to collect his wife, Izanami) • Rules the High Celestial Plain of Heaven • Her grandson, Ninigi no Mikoto, is the grandfather of the Japanese people • His great- grandson, Jimmu, became first emperor, 711 BC
  • 10.  She squabbles with her younger brother, Susanoo no Mikoto, who is obnoxious.  As a result, she hides herself in a cave.  She is the sun goddess, so the world falls into chaos and darkness. 10
  • 11.  Other divinities gathered and danced to draw her out, using mirror and jewels as enticements. She emerges, bringing back light.  These 2 items (mirror and jewels), along with her brother’s sword, constitute the Imperial Regalia of Japan. 11
  • 12. Officially: 119 million Shinto adherents 12
  • 13.  Shinto stresses harmony with nature.  Gods are believed to be everywhere: mountains, trees, rivers, as well as in people. 13
  • 14. 1. Shrine 2. Imperial Household 3. Folk 4. Koshinto 14
  • 15. 15 temple, torii , and roadside shrine 1. Shrine Shinto: Most common form
  • 16.  Entering into a shrine is entering sacred space— the dwelling place of kami  Like most religions, Shinto emphasizes purity  Must purify self to enter shrine  You should not visit a shrine if one of your relatives has died recently 16
  • 17.  The most well-recognized symbol of Shinto  The torii marks off sacred space  Enter through Toriis to reach sacred space 17
  • 18. 18
  • 19. 19 Kamidana – household altar. Purity: Wash hands, then make an offering (bowl of rice or an orange) to gods
  • 20. purification pool 20 Visitors wash out their mouths before they enter
  • 21. 21
  • 22. 22 • Ise built about 600 ad • Amaterasu is worshiped at Ise • Sacred mirror kept at Ise • Presided over by high priest/priestess of the imperial family • Prime vacation destination
  • 23. 23 Ise rebuilt every 20 years: transitory nature of life Impermanence of all things Ise Shrine
  • 24. Shimenawa – braided rice straw rope that wards off evil spirits. 24
  • 25. Omikuji: prayers printed on small papers that are tied near the shrine 25
  • 26. 26 Visitors ring a bell (and offer money) to awaken the god at the temple, who resides in the back. Note the fox, guardian and messenger of the powerful rice kami (spirit/god)
  • 27. 27 Omikoshi, portable platform that transports a deity during festivals and holidays
  • 28. 28 New Years: A big event, with breaking point right after midnight. People toss in 5 yen for good luck.
  • 29. Practiced only by the emperor and his posse 29
  • 30. Omamori Himari –protective charms. Pieces of wood where people write prayers. What are common prayers in Japan? Entrance into college! Hopeful students write the name of the college they hope to enter on the wood. 30
  • 31.  Spring, new year’s festival  Throw soybeans to drive away demons of disease  Bring good luck to new year 31
  • 32. 32
  • 33.  Karma  Reincarnation  Four Noble Truths ◦ Life is suffering ◦ Suffering is caused by ignorance/desire ◦ Suffering ends by ending desire (Liberation) ◦ Liberation comes through following the Buddha’s Eightfold Path 33
  • 34.  The Eightfold Path ◦ Right view ◦ Right intention ◦ Right speech ◦ Right action ◦ Right livelihood ◦ Right effort ◦ Right mindfulness ◦ Right concentration 34
  • 35. 35  Huge impact on Japanese literature and art
  • 36.  Buddhism came to Japan from China, 552 AD.  Today about 91 million followers in Japan  As with Christianity, did not spread until adopted by ruling class 36
  • 37.  Medieval period: 1200s to 1500s.  Rise of two important Japanese Buddhist branches: Pure Land (Jodo Shu) and Rinzai (Zen). 37
  • 38.  Founded by Nichiren—buddhist monk in the 1200s.  Focus on the Lotus Sutra (buddhist text).  Amitabha (Buddha of Infinite Light) as savior  Chant to be saved: ―Namu-myo-horen- genkyo.‖  Evangelical and radical 38Pure Land temple
  • 39.  Built 1252 by Pure Land branch  One of Japan’s most famous images  Image of Amitabha  In Kamakura  Bronze  44 feet high 39
  • 40.  Founded by Nichiren  One of 3 branches of Zen Buddhism  Philosophical  Goal is to see one’s true nature  Koan’s (puzzles) central (Requires thinking outside the box) 40 Rinzai Zen
  • 41.  Rinzai became extremely powerful.  Warring States period (1450-1600), the most beautiful city, Kyoto, burned.  Nobunaga and Hideyoshi took power.  Nobunaga hated Buddhist monks because of their power. He burned many temples to the ground, breaking the power of Rinzai. 41
  • 42. 42 Household shrines: Butsudan  Icon of the Buddha  Pictures of patriarchs  Memorial tablets  Offerings of flowers or fruit.
  • 43. 43 Funeral rights generally performed by a Buddhist priest. Sutras chanted at intervals after a death, noting the passage of a deceased loved one to the next level of the afterlife.
  • 44. 44 Still have large, ornate temples, but more often, much smaller neighborhood temples. Almost everyone is registered with their local temple.. Ringing of the bell. Important on New Year’s Day – ringing it 108 times for the 108 sins of mankind
  • 45. 45 Obon: Festival of the Dead (August)  Spirits of ancestors come home for a visit  Family reunions, businesses close.  Festival carnivals, dancing, then spirits go home  At the close of the festival, Lights represent spirits returning to the land of the dead.
  • 46. 46 Obon
  • 47. Shinto and Buddhism closely linked  Most people practice both (as well as other religions)  Sometimes Shinto shrines are inside the grounds of Buddhist temples.  From Meiji period on (1850s on), the state supported Shinto and sought to separate Buddhism and Shinto 47 Meiji Emperor
  • 48.  Not a Japanese religion, but has much influenced Japan  Confucian ideology has dominated Japan since the late first century  Confucian ideals shaped the social hierarchy and daily life  Created a Meritocracy 48
  • 49.  Appointments and responsibilities are assigned based on an individual’s "merits," namely intelligence, credentials, and education, determined through evaluations or examinations. 49
  • 50.  SPAM=Samurai, Peasants, Artisans, Merchants. 50 Samurai armorpeasants
  • 51.  Not important in Japan: Less than 1% of Japanese people are Christian.  Portuguese shipwrecked in Japan in 1549.  Missionary Frances Xavier arrived 1549.  Christians brought technology and goods from the west, including guns  There was soon an economic advantage to becoming Christian 51 Xaviar
  • 52.  Toyotomi Hideyoshi disliked Christianity  Suspicious that Christians were eyeing Japan for invasion  Great Christian persecution, including many crucifixions  1590s –26 Christians were crucified in Nagasaki  Christianity went underground 52
  • 53.  Tokugawa Leyasu closed Japan to foreigners ◦ drove out missionaries  limited foreign presence to one small island off the coast of Nagasaki  In Japan, people had to renounce Christianity or risk execution.  Kakure Christians (hidden Christians) Continued to practice. 53
  • 54.  Japanese borders reopened in1853  State Shinto maintained control, forcing rigid adherence to Emperor as supreme head of state  Christianity suppressed until after WWII. 54
  • 55.  Christmas is merely a commercial event in Japan  New Years is the big holiday, celebrated in Shinto style as described above 55
  • 56.  Valentines Day: Women give men chocolate.  White Day (March 14): Men give women chocolate. 56
  • 57. Japanese weddings often in Western style. 57
  • 58.  Rich and varied history  Nonexclusive: Overlap of four traditions  Eclectic: an assortment of beliefs and practices  Flexible: have accommodated modernization and imported religions  Adapting but holding a traditional core  Shinto and Buddhism as core of Japanese religions 58
  • 59. Brent Roberts Adapted and enhanced by Lisa Kemmerer For RLST 170 online